Thunder, Magic players plan own mini-camp workouts

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Not everybody is going to Las Vegas to workout and play in a few games.

While the “lockout league” is drawing the headlines it’s not drawing all the stars or even all the big teams. There are teams running their own minicamps, including the Thunder and Magic.

The Thunder’s are doing their own mini-camp this week that includes Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Eric Maynor, Cole Aldrich, Nick Collison and even rookie Reggie Jackson, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.

For Oklahoma City, where the key is internal improvement and growth to help take the next step, the fact that almost all the key players got together for voluntary workouts is a very good sign. (Serge Ibaka is excused as he is playing for Spain in EuroBasket). We know KD has been playing at seemingly every pickup game in America this summer, but he needs to get that run in with his teammates, too.

The majority of Magic players are getting together next week in Florida for a series of informal workouts, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Jameer Nelson, Quentin Richardson and Dwight Howard are helping organize the run.

“This is the time we all come back into town and just get together and get around each other and hang out a little bit, whether it’s dinner or going to watch a couple of football games, and work out during the day,” Nelson said. “It doesn’t have to be an everyday thing because we have a veteran team. Guys still do their own thing working on their bodies individually, and to my understanding, most guys are [working on their own] right now.”

Right now is when players would usually be working out and playing pickup at team facilities to get ready for the season. But with the lockout squelching that, at least some teams are doing it for themselves. Which should make fans of those team’s happy.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

Marc Gasol
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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try:


James Harden’s defense: Stop and point while opponent flies to rim (video)


As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.

But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.

This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.

At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.

Jerry Colangelo says Kobe Bryant could still make 2016 U.S. Olympic team

Kobe Bryant, Zachary Stinson
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So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.

What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:

Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.

“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”

‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.

But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.